The City Council recently approved an implementation plan prioritizing the construction of several pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects throughout the city.
The Modal Alternatives Project, better known as MAP Encinitas, serves as the implementation plan to the city’s Active Transportation Plan, which established a network of biking and walking facilities and identified needed routes, gap closures, safety concerns and options for active transportation.
The top five prioritized bicycle projects include: Vulcan Avenue multi-use path from La Costa Avenue to Santa Fe Drive, which will cost an estimated $22 million; Quail Gardens Drive and Westlake Street bicycle lanes project valued around $7 million; Manchester Avenue bike lanes from Via Poco to Encinitas Boulevard at $5.7 million; San Elijo Avenue bike lanes and route project at $3.7 million, and the gap filling of bike lanes on Union Street, Hermes Avenue and Cereus Avenue at just over $45,000.
The top five prioritized pedestrian projects include: Leucadia Boulevard sidewalk infill project to the Beacon’s Beach access at $3 million; Saxony Road sidewalk infill project at nearly $1 million; Coast Highway 101 sidewalk infill at nearly $600,000; Nardo Road sidewalk infill at nearly $800,000, and a pedestrian X-crossing at Encinitas Boulevard and Vulcan Avenue project at $1.1 million.
In 2020, the city received funding to develop MAP Encinitas through the Caltrans Sustainable Communities Grant and drafted a prioritized list of 35 bike and pedestrian projects reflecting the community’s desires.
MAP Encinitas does not include identifying new projects, rather simply prioritizing the projects already identified in the city’s ATP, which included 86.3 miles of proposed bike facilities and 25.1 miles of pedestrian facilities. There are approximately 66.2 miles of bike facilities and 45.9 miles of pedestrian facilities that currently remain to be built.
The city could leverage a variety of federal, state and regional grants to help pay for any of these projects, according to city consultants.
“There are a lot of funding opportunities for these projects,” said Roberto Ruiz of CR Associates at the Feb. 8 council meeting.
Residents generally supported the council’s approval of MAP Encinitas with a few additional suggestions to consider.
Former Encinitas council member Lisa Shaffer, coordinator at Encinitas Environmental Education (E3) Collaborative, highlighted the importance of improving bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Saxony Road and Quail Gardens Drive areas of the city, which she described as the “E3 district,” which is home to the San Diego Botanic Gardens, San Dieguito Heritage Museum, EUSD Farm Lab and other amenities.
“The E3 District is a focal point for the region and we want to be able to safely and easily come to work and play without adding traffic and parking impacts in an area slated for 700 new housing units,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer also requested the city work with the Botanic Gardens to complete the sidewalk on the west side of Quail Gardens Drive. The Botanic Gardens are open to relocating its fencing in that area to accommodate a walking path behind several big trees to connect the existing sidewalk amenities along that road.
Mayor Tony Kranz accepted the offering of sidewalk easement from the Gardens.
Shaffer also urged the city to use development impact fees from the new housing projects in that area to pay for the E3 District improvements.
The City Council unanimously approved the MAP Encinitas plan with additional direction for the city manager and staff to develop a timeline for additional community input and to bring back possible amendments by the end of the year.